Running a marathon is huge accomplishment. It is something that you have trained for over many months. The marathon itself can be thought of as a celebration of all of your training and hard work. Below are some tips to help you run your best marathon and enjoy the experience.
Dress for success. Check the weather and dress appropriately. If your marathon is expected to be a rainy one, be sure to wear a rain jacket or poncho and wool socks to prevent chafing. It would be a disappointment to not be able to celebrate the finish of your marathon, or to suffer through it over a missing piece of gear. If it is going to be sunny and hot, be sure to have a hat and sunblock. You will be spending a lot of time on your feet during your marathon. Having the right clothing can make your journey more enjoyable. Some of the fall marathons have crazy ranges of weather and sometimes runners experience all four seasons within a single marathon! These are the marathons you will remember the most.
Don’t forget to refuel and hydrate. This may sound like an easy one, yet so many runners forget to eat and drink while running and end up getting sick or bonking towards the end. Most runners eat 100-200 calories every hour and drink regularly. Runners that use the walk/run method will use their walk break to eat and drink. The body naturally has enough stored glycogen to supply about 2,000 calories of energy. If you have not fueled properly, this glycogen store will be completely depleted around mile 20 – the Wall! If you have ever hit “the Wall” in a marathon, then you have not taken in enough calories during your run.
Set realistic goals. For the average runner, a goal of simply getting to the finish line without injury is very realistic. They enjoy the sport, the friends, and the course. They may even take pictures along the way. Others are more competitive and have high aspirations of qualifying for a bigger event. Setting a realistic goal allows you to celebrate your accomplishment regardless of if you got the times you wanted. There are no failures in running. There are only lessons learned. If you did not reach your goal during your marathon, chances are you learned a lot from that experience and can use what you learned to better your next marathon.
Remember to run your own race. Running a marathon is an individual sport, even though we share our sport with thousands of other runners. No need to create anxiety over other runners or fears of not being as good as everyone else. Run your own race and let them run theirs. When you only have to worry about yourself, it takes the edge off and allows you to enjoy your time out there on the course.
Running a marathon comes with bragging rights forever. Lace up and enjoy!